Bringing cheer to metro commuters in Kolkata, the first phase of East-West Metro in the city, stretching 5 kilometers between Salt Lake sector 5 and Salt Lake Stadium, is expected to be inaugurated on October 24, the same day country's first metro in Kolkata - the north-south route was flagged off in 1984.According to a report by Times of India, the Railway Board officials said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Kolkata on the day and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is expected to be in the city too on the day.
The report further said that the Railway Board is eager to inaugurate the stretch of the Kolkata Metro east-west corridor on October 24, a red-letter day in the history of the country's rapid transit system.
“Preparations are underway in full swing to start commercial services between Sector V and Salt Lake Stadium from 24 October,” TOI quoted a source as saying.
The final test run for Kolkata's Line 2 will be conducted for three days, starting October 15. Apart from providing confidence to the team to go ahead with the commissioning of the line, the upcoming trial runs will help gauge the frequency of the service among others. The officials said that if they come across any glitch during the trials, they will shift the inauguration to the first or second week of November.“The service runs will be done to ensure there is no premature failure when the trains start plying. If the section is not flagged off before November 30, another inspection by the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) will be required before the next launch date,” an official was quoted by TOI.
The first phase of East-West corridor of Kolkata Metro was originally scheduled to become operation by 2012 but problems including land acquisition, slum relocation and route alignment delayed the project to 2015. It was then further postponed till 2018 and finally 2019. On August 6, Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) paved the way for commissioning of the first phase.According to TOI, even after the elevated section of the East-West corridor of the Kolkata Metro becomes operational, there will be uncertainty over the commissioning of the remaining underground stretch after an entire neighbourhood in Bowbazar caved in. There is still no clarity on when boring of the final 1 km stretch of tunnel will resume. It is only after the link is established that metro trains will be able to ply under the Hooghly river, becoming the first underwater tunnel that will go beneath a tributary of the Ganga river.